Arnold Kling points to what he (probably correctly)
calls "The Most Important Economic News of the Year": productivity growth over the past five years has been larger than any previous
five-year period in the past 50 years. This strongly implies that the fiscal doomsayers that predict ruin as the baby boomers (like me)
start raking in their entitlement benefits are incorrect: only
adjustments in benefits or taxation will be necessary to get to what
Kling calls the "affordable welfare state," since productivity increases
will automatically increase government revenue.
As Woody Allen said in one of his old (i.e.: funny) movies: I really have mixed feelings about this. (1) I'd rather see the welfare state wither and die; the norm should be people making private arrangements for funding forseeable events, like retirement and medical care. (2) I'm dubious that politicians won't find a way to overpromise, overspend, and otherwise outpace even lavish incoming tax revenue. (3) On the other hand, it's nice to know there's a scenario under which we aren't all headed for financial ruin; good for me and Mrs. Salad, good for the Pun Kids.
- A belated Christmas gift from Bill Gates: yet another unpatched Windows security flaw that will automatically infect your computer if you browse an appropriately evil website. Apparently (if you need to run Windows), Firefox is slightly more secure than IE. Linux and Mac users, as usual, are safe. A Slashdotter sagely comments: "Guys, you keep posting that same story about a serious security flaw in Windows."